NEW DELHI: Amid the talk of the possibility of `surgical’ Indian strikes against Pakistan-based terror camps, Delhi has made it clear that it does not approve of the continuing Israeli air attacks in the West Bank which happen to be of the kind that some hawks in India would recommend against Pakistan.
In a statement the second since Israel began its air strikes on Saturday the External Affairs Ministry has criticised the use of ``disproportionate force’’ by Israel.
When the Foreign Office issued the second statement on Monday, over 300 Palestinians had been reported dead and several more injured in the Israeli retaliation that followed rocket and mortar attacks into Israeli territory from Hamasrun Gaza Strip.
The initial Israeli strikes were against Hamas security compounds: many of the dead were Hamas policemen.
Israel is sometimes cited as an example to follow for India. But observers also argue it is tough to emulate that country and strike at Pakistan-based camps of militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed as Pakistan is militarily strong and has a nuclear arsenal.
Compared to Israel, India also comes under bigger American pressure to exercise restraint.
India’s first response on Saturday to the West Asian flare-up took note of ``immediate cross-border provocations’’ – the rocket attacks on Israel - but urged ``an immediate end to the use of force against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.’’ But Monday’s statement was harsher against Israel.
``It is disappointing to note that the use of disproportionate force is resulting in a large number of civilian casualties on the one hand and the escalating violence on the other. This continued use of indiscriminate force is unwarranted and condemnable,’’ the Foreign Office spokesman said.
India urged ``utmost restraint so as to give peace a chance as the peace process may well get derailed irreversibly by Israel’s attack in the Gaza Strip and continued violence.’’ India has issued similar statements in the past on violence in West Asia as it urges dialogue in West Asia.
But coming amid the India-Pakistan stand-off after Mumbai terror attacks, this one would seem to send a message to countries that are concerned over the possibility of India launching similar attacks in Pakistan territory: That India would be reluctant to take any action that could result in big collateral damage of civilian casualties.